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9 Boston to Cruise to Nowhere Cruise Reviews

Hubby and I along with our best friends used this as our weekend adult getaway. I loved the ship. I've read plenty of reviews that did not seem favorable and cannot understand why. The service was great and the food was very good. ... Read More
Hubby and I along with our best friends used this as our weekend adult getaway. I loved the ship. I've read plenty of reviews that did not seem favorable and cannot understand why. The service was great and the food was very good. We never saw our cabin steward, but I did not think it was a big deal since it was only a 2 night CTN. He/she did leave us a towel animal on the last night though! The buffet seemed to over a great variety of food. We did not eat in the MDR at all. We ate at Moderno the first night. Service was a little slow. The waiter seemed to be overwhelmed with the few tables he had. However, the food was good. Not sure if it was worth a $20 pp cover charge though. The second night we ate at La Cucina for $10 per person. The food was very good and service was EXCELLENT! We also ate at the Sushi Bar twice. The a la carte pricing was very reasonable compared to what we pay at home. The sushi (spicy tuna) was the best I have had in a long time. Again, service was very good. We also ate at The Blue Lagoon. Service was good and food was not bad at all. We thought the ship was perfect size. Our balcony cabin was small but perfect for the 2 of us. We know that we would need at least a mini suite for the family when we go on the Dawn again. The staff was very friendly. We never saw a staff member who was not helpful or smiling - even in frigid temperatures! Over all, great weekend cruise, great ship and great staff. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Three of the four of us have cruised NCL in the past. Dad 78, sister 52, husband 56 and myself 51. The ships decor is very tastefully done. Bright, but very rich looking. We noticed the casino to be smokey at times and others not. My ... Read More
Three of the four of us have cruised NCL in the past. Dad 78, sister 52, husband 56 and myself 51. The ships decor is very tastefully done. Bright, but very rich looking. We noticed the casino to be smokey at times and others not. My husband won about $350 at the dollar slots so he was happy. The rest of us lost about $100 at the slots. The Garden Cafe' is nice and open with plenty of great food to pick from. Having no trays didn't bother me as there were plenty of staff waiting to help you if needed. The seating area is small in my opinion and the tables are very close together making it hard to get around. I thought the shopping area was on the small side too with less to offer than on other cruise lines. We really enjoyed the bridge viewing area on deck 11 portside all the way forward. Since it was a cruise to nowhere from Boston in the freezing weather with snow we were unable to enjoy what the outdoors had to offer. The Bliss Lounge is not to be missed! The Star Bar has fantastic views as well as the Spinnaker Lounge. The Gem definitely has something for everyone. For the most part we thought the service was good. Black Falcon Terminal can be hot or cold as far as checking in. This time I wasn't impressed, especially since we had VIP check in. The "next in line" were literally behind you looking over your shoulder. I think there needs to be a line on the floor for the next person to stand behind until one is finished checking in. We drove to Black Falcon and parked across the street in the parking garage. Service was slow as far as getting a drink but I have to say since this was only a weekend cruise (booze cruise) that was probably half the problem. We did sit at the champagne bar one evening when no one else was there and we were literally ignored for AT LEAST 5-8 minutes and there were 3 people working there. None of them even looked as us. They were doing other things but they could have at least acknowledged us. We were called for an upsell from a AF to an A3 for what we thought was a good price. We originally only had 3 of us going but since we had more room we added one more. The Courtyard Villa is the way to go if you can afford it, but for us we will have to stick with a balcony as we would never spend that kind of money on a cabin. It was quite the treat! I also want to add that the balcony door blew open twice. Once while we were out of the cabin and when we got back it was FREEZING! Closed it and turned the handle down to lock it only to have it vibrate open again. We then used the child proof lock as a back up and that worked. Since we were in a Villa we had the butler make reservations to Cagney's for us. This was shortly after boarding. He came back to tell us that Cagney's was fully booked for both nights. We settled for Le Bistro and enjoyed it although you had to pay an extra $10pp if you wanted the lamb or chateau briand (not sure of the spelling) and we didn't think that was right. That was our first time doing a specialty restaurant and I honestly can say I would probably never do it again as we enjoyed the dining room food just as much. Maybe it's the atmosphere people really enjoy. We saw two shows and while I'm sure they were liked by many, it was not our style. Don't get me wrong, what they did was good, just not our style. Disembarkation was easy for us but we did see some angry people when they had to go from deck 6 VIP area up to deck 7 then down the hall to go back down to 6 to get in line with the others. There are always people complaining about something like they are the only ones getting off. All in all we very much enjoyed The Gem and would love to experience her or a sister ship in the Caribbean so we can enjoy all she has to offer. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
NCL new ship has finally captured the sophisticated detail that I love. The colors are more earth toned friendly and the design is just beautiful. We sailed out of Boston and embarkation was easy and painless. We immediately went to our ... Read More
NCL new ship has finally captured the sophisticated detail that I love. The colors are more earth toned friendly and the design is just beautiful. We sailed out of Boston and embarkation was easy and painless. We immediately went to our cabin and dropped off our luggage. The cabin was adequate for 3 day cruise (myself and my husband prefer suites). There was lots of room for storing clothes and bathroom products. The bed mattress have improved greatly and all the pillows were still fluffy and not flat:)!! There was great flat screen tv, mini bar and coffee maker in our room. All the restaurants were great. I loved the Pacifica Main Restaurant. The decor was beautiful. They have changed the serving covers to plastic instead of metal so no more clink clink of metal hitting. The dining experience was quiet and relaxing. We had lunch the first day in Magneta Restaurant that displayed beautiful colored flowers on the wall. The Tiger Shrimp and Lobster Ravilo was awesome. Service was the best I have ever had. We also ate in Cagney's which is always been one of my favorite..the food was fab! We then ventured to Bliss Lounge for some VIP treatment. This lounge makes you feel like you are a celebrity. I loved it. The velvet couches / beds and red ropes give this area an ultra chic feeling. On this special cruise the speciality restaurants were open for lunch. We enjoyed the Italian Restaurant from beginning to end. Love the antipasto cart (though some of the items seemed warm and should of been served cold). Dessert topped it off with the great triamoso. We ventured around the ship looking into every room possible. The Courtyard Villa area for the ultra VIP's - guests booked into the courtyard villa suites, owner suites or grand villa suite - is the ultimate paradise. Featuring private pool with retractable roof, private sundeck, exercise room. It is truly a city within a city up there. After coming back down to earth we visited the spa...very beautiful. We thought the additional fee to use the spa relaxation area was TACKY!!! If I spend $100+ on a treatment I should be able to use the relaxation area for free that day. Nope not on this ship. :( The theater was nice and we saw the 2nd City Group - excellent and very funny. Dinner tonight was at LeBistro. Always one of my favorites! We found our ultimate spot at the Tapas Lounge at the bar overlooking the Crystal Atrium. Here they serve you complimentary salsa, guacamole made right there, and the best darn chips around. Top that off with their Grand Margarita and lets say that was my favorite spot. The outdoor casino is a great idea, though in the blizzard it was nonoperational. Looking forward to seeing this in action along with the giant slide on my cruise with the Gem January 5th!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
we took a "cruise to nowhere" from Boston on 12/15 on the NCL Gem...in a word, AWESOME!!!!! The NCL Gem is an awesome ship; it is in the same category as the NCL Dawn as it is a freestyling ship. NCL has definitely outdone itself ... Read More
we took a "cruise to nowhere" from Boston on 12/15 on the NCL Gem...in a word, AWESOME!!!!! The NCL Gem is an awesome ship; it is in the same category as the NCL Dawn as it is a freestyling ship. NCL has definitely outdone itself this time with this new ship. Embarkation was out of Boston. I went with my wife and 16 year old niece. We were able to board the ship within 30 minutes. The nicest thing is that you could check your luggage in right in Boston as it was only a 2 day cruise. Oue room was on the 5th deck; the room slept 3 of us comfortably. The room also came with a flatscreen TV. It was impeccably clean and bright. We never saw our room steward (I guess you can take that as a good thing). We had lunch at the Magenta Dining Room..food was great and selection was wonderful. For dinner, we went to The Orchid restaurant. As it was our niece's 16th bday, we had ordered a cake. The waitstaff was very attentive to all the details and sang Happy Birthday to her. Our other dinner was at The Magenta Dining Room and dinner was great. Breakfast was at the Great Pacific Dining Room--wonderful room. We did go bowling; that was cool. Being Christmas time, the ship was nicely decorated with Christmas trees abound. The only complaint is that on Sunday, they said we would be seeing the NE Patriots play; because of signaling problems, they could not get the game. But you know, if that is the only complaint, it ain't too bad. I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND the NCL Gem; it is a first class ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Cruise history: NCL (Seaward & Majesty), CCL, HAL, RCCL (last year on the Mariner--best cruise thus far) Family: Me (37), Husband (43), kids (7&8--4th cruise) Reason for cruise: Proximity to Port of Boston, nice weekend getaway ... Read More
Cruise history: NCL (Seaward & Majesty), CCL, HAL, RCCL (last year on the Mariner--best cruise thus far) Family: Me (37), Husband (43), kids (7&8--4th cruise) Reason for cruise: Proximity to Port of Boston, nice weekend getaway to experience a new ship EMBARKATION: Crowds of people everywhere but check in was fairly smooth. Security line was very long and apparently got worse as the day went on. Since it was a short cruise we had to bring on our own luggage--no big deal for us since we had small carryons. Others brought huge, monstrous suitcases and multiple ones at that! Wouldn't have bothered me since I didn't have to carry them but these people would clog up the hallways, stairwells and elevators. Very chaotic. LIFE BOAT DRILL: We proceeded to muster station as ordered only to find they were still boarding hundreds of passengers. We then obviously ended up waiting with life jackets on while all these people boarded, went to their rooms and unloaded their luggage and then returned to their stations. CABIN: For 2 nights on a winter cruise we opted for an inside for the 4 of us. I would not recommend this room category for more than 2 people. It is extremely tiny and once the trundle bed comes out, there is nowhere to walk. On the Mariner of the Seas last year the rooms were roomy and I think even had a couch. I liked the wood tones and the shower was very nice. ROOM STEWARD: Non existent. Never met the 2 assigned to us. Looked for them multiple times and could never be found. Left a note with 2 adult life preservers out on the bed requesting 2 children life preservers--never got them. Champagne glass from embarkation was left there the whole trip. Used glasses never replaced. Found leftovers from previous guests. Chocolate candy thrown on the bed. Just an obvious lack of caring for the job or being overwhelmed. The bedding was comfortable, though. FOOD: As good as expected. If you go on expecting 5 star you'll be disappointed. Grand Pacific--ate lunch here on embarkation day--it took over 1 1/2 hrs (for LUNCH!). Food was good. La Cucina--Best meal on this trip. Food was good, service outstanding. Until the end of the meal when they let in a group of 20 women. First 10 showed up and sat down then 20min later the other 10 showed up and didn't like how they arranged the seating. They all wanted to be next to each other. They proceeded to rearrange all the tables, the table for 10 got up from their table and moved into others, they displaced a party of 4 that was being seated. This was all done in LOUD voices. We ended up with 2 drunk girls next to us yelling at any server walking by--"CAN WE HAVE MORE BUTTER", "WE WANT MORE WATER"--over and over. Finally, my husband asked them to lower their voices. Big mistake because now they start harassing us--"Oh look they want an intimate dinner, how sweet". Luckily we were on dessert and didn't have to listen to them long. They should never have allowed this group to just take over the restaurant. Sushi bar--ate here for lunch. Very good food but again it took 1 1/2 hrs to be served. We sat there for over an hour before they brought the food out. KIDS CLUB:My kids loved it. However, if NCL truly wants to be freestyle, they need to have hours that we can just drop in and out. Hours of 9-12, 2-5, and 7-10 just had us constantly watching the clock. One incident that left a bad taste was when we found out one of the counselors took my son out of the club without our permission alone to get a "safe" snack from the buffet. 2 issues--with my son's allergies I asked if any snacks were going to be served and they said no. 2. A counselor should never take a child out of the club alone. We confronted him and he told us not to worry since "there are cameras everywhere". Still did not ease our minds. ENTERTAINMENT: If you like to drink, gamble and watch sports you were in luck. Every TV around the ship in lounges, bars, atrium played football. Bowling always had a 2 hr waiting list. Since we were stuck inside it limited where we could go and what we did. We saw one show and they did a really good job. After dinner we looked for bars that had a piano player or some mellow entertainment to relax--couldn't find it. The comedy improv was awful. I liked that they had a roulette table in Spinnaker lounge. We're not gamblers but we were able to spend an hour here without any smokers around us and we won 50 bucks! Didn't go in the casino since it was so smoky. SPA: If you happen to have a rainy sea day, I would not recommend going to the spa. The place was mobbed. The pool and hot tub had people standing shoulder to shoulder. I waited 1/2hr for a heated tile lounger only to have someone give their chair up for their friend. People were actually SAVING the lounge chairs. There were only about 10 there so people would put clothes and books on the chairs and then go in the hot tub--very rude. GYM: Nice equipment and it was interesting running in 15-20 ft swells! The place was packed in the morning but I only had to wait about 5-10min for a treadmill. OVERALL: I did not like the layout of the ship especially bar central and the atrium. It did not allow for traffic flow, people were always spilling out of the bars and standing in the walk ways. Even the Atrium had people sitting in front of the stairs, you could not walk from one side to the other without squeezing past lots of people. I felt the atmosphere catered to the young, partying crowd. The martini bar had a flat screen TV that had naked shadow dancers playing--IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY! Very inappropriate. At debarkation we stood in line and had this playing with my 2 kids there--luckily this time the girls had on bikinis! If I had to choose, I would probably stick to RCCL for the larger ships. We didn't seem to run into any trouble with crowds and lines on that ship like we did on the Gem. I don't have a problem with the freestyle concept so that was not an issue and I liked the variety of restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Our family of four just sailed on a two-night "Weekend Cruise" to nowhere on the new Norwegian Gem from December 15th through 17th. We're in our 40's and we have one in high school and one in college. This cruise sailed ... Read More
Our family of four just sailed on a two-night "Weekend Cruise" to nowhere on the new Norwegian Gem from December 15th through 17th. We're in our 40's and we have one in high school and one in college. This cruise sailed from Boston, which is about an hour's drive from our home. A cruise in our neck of the woods is rare this time of year; combine that with a chance to sail on NCL's heavily-promoted 'It" Girl and you have the recipe for a great getaway. Or so I thought. We arrived at the pier at about 12:20 PM to find a very long line and a huge crowd anxious to board. The line moved quickly, though, and soon we had our cruise cards in hand. Next there was another long queue for the security screening. This line moved extremely slowly. It was slowed even further by the obligatory embarkation photo. After a little more than an hour in these lines, we were aboard. The ship is beautiful. I liked the ambience of the Gem. I had wondered if I'd find the color scheme too tacky, but plenty of cherry wood accents make the result feel warm and sophisticated, with a few exceptions. The Crystal Atrium is a bit garish - the "gems" protruding from the ceiling look like cheap plastic stalactites and the Bliss Ultra Lounge was probably designed by Austin Powers... "Yeah, baby! Shagadeleic!" I found the lighting throughout the public spaces to be too dim, especially as we were sailing in stormy weather. We headed up to the cabin to drop off our luggage. The balcony cabin had a wonderful bathroom with three separate areas for WC, sink and a relatively roomy shower. They finally got it right! The living area, though, seemed cramped. The balcony was tiny compared to the one we enjoyed on the Caribbean Princess this past summer. The room was furnished with two twin beds pushed together as well as a convertible sofa. The fourth berth in this configuration is stored in the ceiling. With all four berths in use, there is almost no room left. Also, because the ceiling berth is above the sleeper sofa, you have no access to your balcony after turn-down. The door is blocked by the beds. Guests are not permitted to raise or lower the ceiling bunk themselves - I couldn't figure out how it worked anyway - and there's a protruding latch bolt to watch out for if you get stuck with that sofa bed. That was about as soft as a plywood plank. There's adequate storage space for a family of four (but we packed light - it was only a two-nighter). Minor annoyances began to multiply: we never did get the TV remote to work, the coffee cups by the in-room coffeemaker disappeared after turn-down on the first night and never reappeared, and there was no soap in the bathroom sink area. I figured the cabin steward would catch that while we were at dinner, but no. We washed our hands with shower gel until the next day. On day two the cabin was not made up until about 2:30 PM, and still no soap. I had to go look for the steward, whom I had yet to meet, to bring some. When I tracked him down, he offered no more than a quiet grunt in conversation. On the way to lunch in the Magenta dining room, guests currently embarking were being offered a complimentary glass of champagne. It wasn't there when we came aboard, so we took one then and headed in to eat. Magenta is the smaller of the two main dining rooms with a cozy feel. Don't let them seat you at a four-top near the kitchen exit where the room takes a ninety degree turn, though. You'll have wait staff carrying trays flying inches over your head for the entire meal. I speak from experience. The Grand Pacific is gorgeous, elegant and much larger. We ate dinner the first night at La Cucina, the no-cover Italian venue. That became our favorite meal, and the only time we had the pleasure of being served by pleasant, helpful wait staff. Again, I though it was too dark in there. Mood lighting is great, but if you can't identify what you're eating, it's too low! Overall, food on the Gem was good but not great. The portion sizes seemed small, even by cruise ship standards. After perusing all the menus I wondered: do they save the real variety and quality for the extra-surcharge venues? With only a few exceptions the service staff seemed indifferent - like they were going through the motions. I know it's often luck of the draw. The final morning at breakfast in Grand Pacific we had to put up with one of the worst waitresses we've ever encountered, while at the very next table the server smiled, conversing and joking with those at her table. Our waitress had one word for us. When it was time to take our order, she said, "Ready?" Excuse me? I wonder if the fact that on an NCL cruise the gratuity is a non-adjustable "service charge" has anything to do with it. Several times over the course of the cruise, when we brought a problem to their attention they pretended to not hear you - or else they didn't understand what you were saying. The language barrier seemed strong on the Norwegian Gem. What's with all the security cameras on this ship? They're literally everywhere... and then some! New England Patriots fans were well-represented among my fellow passengers. They boarded wearing their garb and ready to party. That's the other aspect of a "cruise to nowhere" that I was afraid of. Would it become a "booze cruise"? I'm sad to say that it seemed to. I've never seen that many people "three sheets to the wind" on a cruise before. I was staggering due to the rough seas. The heavy drinkers weren't, because the pitching decks must have cancelled that out! Here's a thought: even though we're on a cruise, should bartenders continue to serve people who've clearly had enough? Ah, the weather. Fifteen to twenty foot swells. Snow on deck. A Nor'easter. December on the North Atlantic. Batten the hatches and pass the Transderm Scop! The outside decks were closed after the first night, so needless to say we didn't have a chance to take a dip in the pool. As a matter of fact, the most time we spent on our balcony was about fifteen minutes during sailaway. The Gem was turning around in Boston Harbor near the airport, and we were treated to incoming jets flying directly overhead at 50 feet as they came in for a landing. Funny, the captain said they would stop air traffic while the ship maneuvered because of the Gem's size. I guess nobody told the pilots...I wonder by how much they cleared the Courtyard Villas? The entertainment was top-notch. The Stardust Theater presented World Beat on the first night. It seemed more polished than similar shows I've seen. Juggler Romano Frediani met the challenge of the rough seas on the second night. The curtains in the theater were swaying back and forth because of the motion of the ocean, but it didn't slow down Romano! Or not much, anyway. He did have some difficulty accomplishing the four-rings-in-a-row-over-the-head trick. We enjoyed singer-guitarist Kim Doolittle in the more intimate setting of the Maltings Beer & Whisky Bar (part of the expansive "Bar Central" string of pubs and watering holes), and a marvelous piano player just outside the Corona Cigar Club who played from memory and took requests with a smile. The relaxed Freestyle disembarkation was a disaster. You're literally free to "whatever", and the result is chaos. Express walk-off began at about 8:30, and starting at 9:00 announcements were made that you were free to disembark. Around 9:45 there was a "last and final call" to leave the ship so we headed to the gangway on Deck 6 by heading down the stairs. We got as far as Deck 7 when we came to a halt and joined a crush of people streaming into the area from every direction. As we inched along, I could see that the elevator doors would open on Deck 6 and people couldn't even get out because of the wall of humanity in the way. It was a bad situation. It took about 35 minutes to go down one flight of stairs, through ten feet of hallway and off the ship. I'd much prefer to wait in my cabin until being directed to disembark by deck. Why would they want the last impression you have of your cruise to be negative? During our 2006 cruise on the Norwegian Majesty we enjoyed great service, comfortable surroundings and a relaxed atmosphere. I figured that NCL would be pulling out all the stops to make the debut of their latest and greatest ship something to remember. All the ingredients are there, but the "It" Girl's entourage needs a few more heavy-hitters, a few more stars. The Norwegian Gem is a diamond in the rough that needs a little more polish in order to shine. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Freedom of the Seas May 19-21, 2006 Cruise to nowhere from Boston I am very excited and honored that I was invited to sail on this magnificent ship for a 2-day preview cruise for travel agents. We flew into Boston a day early from ... Read More
Freedom of the Seas May 19-21, 2006 Cruise to nowhere from Boston I am very excited and honored that I was invited to sail on this magnificent ship for a 2-day preview cruise for travel agents. We flew into Boston a day early from Texas. We stayed at the Sheraton Boston at the Prudential center. This hotel was in a good location and it was easy to get around. On sailing day, we took a taxi to the Black Falcon Pier. I believe it was around $20 or so. I think the new slogan for Royal Caribbean should be Its way more than a week! in addition to Its way more than a cruise! First impressions. Seeing this ship up close is amazing. She is astounding. I love the way this ship curves in the structure with the balconies and the outside railings outside the dining rooms and the whirlpools that overhang! Email me if you would like to see some photos. Once onboard, the dramatic Royal Promenade is the central gathering place. For anyone who has been on a Voyager class ship this area is similar but longer and wider and has more shops. The pizza place was really great and had at least 3 different kinds of pizza, antipasto salad, Caesar salad, fruit cups, deserts and a bar. It was a great hang out to eat and people watch. They have given Ben and Jerrys their own spot on the Promenade too, with a few tables and the Seattles Best is just across the way and has lots of seating as well. There are several shops in this area too. They were not all open on our cruise. We did enjoy the logo shop, and the new Get out there shop, the cosmetic and perfume shop and a separate jewelry store. A note about the Royal Promenade, we found that this was a quicker way to get across the ship. Our cabin was in the forward of the ship and we found that if we walked across the Promenade and then took the forward elevators, that is was much quicker than walking down the long hallways to our cabin like we did when we first boarded the ship. Our cabin was a D2 cabin 8532. It was really a great size cabin with a huge balcony. The new beds are really great. They were firm, yet had a comfortable pillow top. The ends of the beds are curved&. I am not sure why. The new bedding was nice, but I found that the new duvets were very heavy. We sailed from Boston where it was chilly and they still seamed heavy. My bed was next to the balcony doors and when the heavy duvet would brush against the drapes it would cause them to open and let light into the room. I think that when the beds are together then it is a little farther away from the door. I am just wondering if the heavy duvet will be way too much for the Caribbean. The towels in the bathroom were super soft and white and fluffy&.very nice, although the cabin steward said it is harder to make towel animals out of them since they are not very stiff&.lol&..but he still managed some great ones for us! A lobster and an armadillo! I was surprised that only one side of the bathroom mirror opened for storage and there was minimum storage below the sink. The shower doors were circular and there is still no place to shave your legs -- except outside the shower. Why cant the cruise lines ever give us ladies a shelf or bench in the shower in a standard stateroom? The closet space was plenty for 2 people. It also had several shelves. I was happy to see that the safe is the type where you set your own combo rather than slide a credit card and of course it is free. The room also had a small refrigerator. Our room had a full size couch that did not open up and a small table. There was a desk with 6 drawers and a few extra shelves and both sides of the mirror opened up. There is a hair dryer provided. The balcony on our cabin was huge! It was very deep and had two chairs and a table. It could easily fit lay down chairs when you are sailing in better weather than I was. Dining: We managed to try as many different venues as possible and open on our 2-day sailing. As I mentioned before the pizza on the Promenade was great. The Ben and Jerrys as tasty as ever. Seattles best as strong as ever. Johnny Rockets as hopping as ever! The malts, burgers, onion rings, etc& cant be beat! The buffet area in the Windjammer was big and had many offerings for breakfast and lunch. I also enjoyed the Jade oriental area of the buffet. The soups were very good. Now for the dining room, it is magnificent as far as the appearance and service. What I am disappointed in is that the menus on this ship are nothing new&. I sailed on Rhapsody and Splendour in the past year and saw the same menu. I think Royal Caribbean needs to think out the box and come up with a new Freedom of choice menu or something for this new and exciting ship. It seems very uninventive to offer the same ole menu. How about some of the new Organic salads or pastas instead of eggplant and duck? Entertainment: We had a couple of Broadway type shows on our sailings and I popped in for a few minutes. It is hard to do it all on a 2 day cruise. We did make sure to go to the ice show since I remembered from sailing on Voyager class that it is excellent. This ship did not disappoint. Be sure not to miss the ice show, it was great and received a standing ovation. Many bars and clubs will also feature live entertainment. Spa and health club: This area is huge and very popular. They had many work out machines and of course the new boxing ring! We enjoyed sometime in the ladies locker room that has a rather large sauna and steam room available with no charge. The new surfing Flowrider is pretty amazing to watch, which is what I am sure the majority of guests will do&.LOL. Good thing the Wipe Out bar and shop is close by. They are also offering a juice bar called Squeeze which had all sorts of protein powder drinks for sale. I tried the Fat Burner with raspberry flavoring and it was quite good! It sells for about $3.50. Casino: Didnt have much time for this. I was happy to see that it looked like they have at least 3 roulette tables and fancy new posts by them to tell you what numbers have hit and what the odds are for red and black etc&. Childrens area and arcade: All of this area was awesome. Since we did not have any kids on our sailing, the areas were not in use. They are well divided by age and they offer a program in conjunction with Crayola that looked like a lot of fun. The teens have their own disco and an area called The living room. The arcade had many, many games and 3 full size air hockey tables that were lit up with neon. COOL! Johnny Rockets is right next to the teen area. Feel free to email me at C2Cmarci@yahoo.com if you have any questions about this ship or if you need help to plan your cruise vacation. Get Out There! Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
After a series of inaugural short sailings from New York, Freedom of the Seas was scheduled for a series of two-day and one day sailings from Boston before heading to Miami later in the week. My wife and I were fortunate to be invited as ... Read More
After a series of inaugural short sailings from New York, Freedom of the Seas was scheduled for a series of two-day and one day sailings from Boston before heading to Miami later in the week. My wife and I were fortunate to be invited as part of a group to attend one of these complimentary sailings, as were many RCCL Crown & Anchor Society Diamond Plus members. Flying into Boston Logan airport we were met by the RCCL representative and directed to shuttle buses starting at 10:15am. We arrived at the Black Falcon Terminal, were issued numbers and provided seating until our group number was called for check in. The lines moved quickly with plenty of check-in staff. Our bags were x-rayed and we pulled our own wheeled luggage aboard. We were in our cabin before 11:30. We were assigned cabin 6453, an inside category L cabin, 152 sq ft. The new upgraded bedding on Freedom of the Seas is sensational! The only problem is that when the new, larger beds are made up as a queen, you cannot walk around to the side of the bed. It is that tight. Oceanview and above should be all right, as the cabins are larger. The cabin had two Pullman bunks in the ceiling, and for four people there would be inadequate storage. There was one closet which did have three shelves and the safe. The vanity had 6 small drawers, and there were small storage areas behind the mirror but the spaces were too small to be of much use. There was a small refrigerator even in this small inside cabin. The bathroom was not large, but the shower had a solid revolving door which kept the floor dry. No toiletries are provided except soap. All cabins feature flat screen TVs with a variety of programming, movies, CNN and ESPN. After lunch in the Windjammer Cafe, we spent several hours touring and photographing the ship. It was my second time on a Voyager class ship, and it made getting around easier, knowing where to look for things, as the layout is similar across the class, just larger on Freedom. The weather was rainy most of the weekend, in port and at sea, but we headed topside in a short break in the rain to see the Flowrider. Staff in wetsuits were demonstrating boogie boarding and short boarding. The rockwall is immense, and in addition to the basic, high wall, there is also a free standing column. The wall/column face the sports court, a nearly full sized basketball court. The H2O Zone provides ample space for children to play in the water fountains. We did note that the spa pool is outdoors. There is no pool area covered and available for use in case of rainy weather. Johnny Rockets Diner is popular, but was reported by other passengers to have a 1 hr 45 min wait. The Fuel and Teen and Arcade areas are also near Johnny Rockets, with a large number of very elaborate arcade games, and areas for teens to hang out. Adventure Ocean area for younger children is in the same area. Miniature golf and the golf simulator are on the same area aft. The signature Viking Crown lounge is above, overlooking the pools, and contains a bar called Olive or Twist, and a musical performance area. With only two bartenders it was understaffed when crowded. Except for the main dining rooms, dining areas are all in the same area, on Deck 11, the pool deck. Windjammer Cafe offers burger mania, pasta, and general hot buffet items, as well as dessert islands. At breakfast they offer omelets and eggs to order. The beverages are dispensed by staff, so passengers are not helping themselves to coffee, tea, ice water, and iced tea or juices. They are pre-poured by the staff. Forward of the Windjammer is a section called Jade, featuring cafeteria lines for salads and Asian foods. Portofino, the specialty Italian restaurant, and Chops, the specialty seafood and steaks restaurant, are located on the starboard and port side, respectively, forward of the other areas. Each have many window tables, and are subdivided into two seating areas to provide a more intimate feeling than in a large restaurant. The next area we visited was the Promenade, which runs nearly the entire length of Deck 5. On the forward end is Pharaohs Palace, which features a rock and roll band in a club atmosphere. The Promenade can best be described as a large indoor mall, featuring among other things the fashion, logo, jewelry and fragrance and general stores. Features include Sorrentos Italian deli with pizza until 3am, sandwiches, and Italian deli items. The Bull and Bear Pub features a dart room and a guitar entertainer at night, and Vintages is a wine bar which offers wines by the glass as well as wine flights. Both offer seating inside and outside on the Promenade. Ben and Jerrys ice cream is a popular shop and is next door to A Clean Shave, an old fashioned barber shop. Cafe Promenade offers Seattles Finest coffees and tables inside and on the Promenade itself to people watch. At the after end is the Pursers Desk/Guest Relations, and across the way is the cozy Champagne Bar. The main dining rooms are at the aft end of decks 3, 4, and 5. It is actually one huge dining room with three levels and the center open with a huge crystal chandelier. Deck 3 is Leonardo Dining Room, and has a red upholstery theme. Deck 4 is Isaac (Newton) dining room with a blue theme, and Deck 5 is Galileo dining room with a white theme. We ate in Galileos both nights with members of our group. Service is good. The food was good, not excellent, as was presentation, likely the consequence of serving 4,000 people. Beef tenderloin was offered both nights, no lobster. The menu had 4 selections to choose from among the appetizers, salads, soups, and entrees. Dessert the first night offered a crème Brule which came with no caramelized crust. Cherries Jubilee were among the offerings the second night. Each also offered low-fat items. Always available were Caesar salad, salmon, and sirloin steak. Deck 4 contains the RCCL trademark Schooner Bar, which is really too small for the crowd the evening entertainer attracts. Overflow crowd actually blocks the passage way. The entrance to the two deck disco, The Crypt, is located here. A white dEcor with black light gives it atmosphere. The casino is mid ships. It is large with many tables and slots, but narrow aisles and a bar in the middle make is a bit crowded to navigate. Aft of the casino is the photo gallery and Boleros, a bar which features Latin music, a small dance floor, and Latin drinks, such as Mojitos. Forward on Decks 2 and 3 is located the Arcadia Theatre. Seating on the main floor is excellent with great sight lines. The balconies feature some columns which do block the view for some seats. The sailing featured two shows: "Once Upon a Time" and "Marquee". Both were two of the best shows I've ever seen on board a ship. The six talented singers were Broadway quality, in my opinion. From deck 3 aft you enter Studio B, the location of an auditorium sized conference center where the ice rink is located, on deck 2. For conferences the ice is covered with flooring. The ice show was spectacular, with a Russian couple doing more instant, magical, on-ice costume changes than I could count. Deck 3 also features On Air Club, a Karaoke club. Despite the large number of passengers, near 4,000, it never seemed crowded to me, we had no trouble finding seating in Windjammer, and check-in/debarkation went smoothly. The ship will begin 7 night Western Caribbean sailings from Miami this month, visiting Labadee, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. When her sister ship, Liberty of the Seas, joins the fleet in April 2007, the two ships will alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings. A final note for those who might consider a cruise from Boston: We had about a 4 ½ hour wait between arriving back at Logan Airport and our afternoon flight home. Asking at the MassPort information desk, we were advised we could catch a free shuttle bus, 33, outside on the second island which takes us to the station for the Blue Line elevated/subway train. Ticket machines accept cash or debit/credit cards and the fare is $1.25 per person. We boarded the Inbound train, rode two stations to the Aquarium stop, and walked about 2 blocks to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. These are festival marketplaces with shops and food stalls, especially featuring chowda. After lunch and viewing street performers, we took the train back and the free shuttle to the airport for our check-in for the flight. Read Less
Sail Date May 2006
I knew this new ship was going to cause "FREEDOM FRENZY" :-) I am a CLIA Certified MCC. (Master Cruise Counselor) While on a Royal Caribbean Seminar at Sea, each person on our winning Team WON a stateroom on the Freedom of the ... Read More
I knew this new ship was going to cause "FREEDOM FRENZY" :-) I am a CLIA Certified MCC. (Master Cruise Counselor) While on a Royal Caribbean Seminar at Sea, each person on our winning Team WON a stateroom on the Freedom of the Seas as our Reward! WOW! AND we could take our spouse or whoever else we wanted! I was thrilled to be able to take my honey! We are Diamond Members with Royal Caribbean and are booked on the Sept 24th sailing so we were REALLY excited to check out 'OUR SHIP'! We live 20 minutes out of Boston so we drove our car in. RCCL had complementary Event Parking for us. From the parking lot they shuttled us over to the Black Falcon Pier. (3 minutes?) I LOVE cruising out of Boston as they always have dozens of people there to check people in! After showing our ID's we were given out SeaPass Cards which were inside a nice 3-D Pocket folder. The cards were marked Inaugural Celebration 2006. We were appointed an Aft Inside Stateroom on Deck 9. We were onboard early. They announced that the Staterooms were not ready but we were invited to explore the ship. So we immediately headed up to Deck 5 to see The Promenade. We walked across the lighted walkway that we had seen so many time on the RCCL website! To our right was the Guest RElations Desk, to our left the elegant Champagne Bar. Our first stop was up ahead on our left, the Cafe Promenade for a chance to get our bearings and grab a quick bite, but first I walked our to Guest Relations to get a copy of the 'Compass' to see what was going on for the Days Events. There were not many people on board yet so I walked around and got a few photos of the barber shop, A Clean Shave (there was already someone getting a cut!) and Ben N Jerry's. We walked the promenade taking photos of the pubs and headed up one deck(6) to check out the Schooner Bar, then the Crypt, the Gothic two level Dance Club. Continuing on Deck 6 we approached the Casino. IT IS HUGE! I was really surprised as I had not heard a word about it's size! A BIG SURPRISE! Lots of machines, pennies and up. Plenty of Tables, Roulette and one Craps. We continued to the Photo Shop and learned about the new way to get your photos. At certain times during the cruise, say you wanted your portrait taken .... they swipe your SeaPass Card. The next day, you go to the photo shop, swipe your card and ANY of your photos will come up on their computer for you to see, IF you had it swiped before it was taken. Very Cool! Next on to Boleros. I met Adrianne. We told him we'd be back 'cause we 'heard about him on Cruise Critic! And that he has a wonderful reputation already! :-) We took a peek at the Dining room....WOW! Beautiful! Then grabbed the elevator UP to Deck 8 to see if we could locate the stateroom we'll be in in September. We choose this location as it is near the internet cafe, Royal Caribbean Online. It has a nice open feeling and a small seating area that overlooks the promenade. (Good idea as it will help pass the time for someone who's waiting for you... when your checking your emails.;-) Next UP to Deck 11, The Pool Deck, we HAD to see Whirlpool that jets out over the sea! WOW! We were surprised to see how spacious the whirlpools were! Got a great photo with the first man in! Heading towards the pools we decided time to have a Welcome Aboard Cocktail at the Pool Bar. I belive I had a Dirty Banana? It was delicious! (Did I mention everything was FREE!) We left a nice gratuity. With drinks in hand we walked across the 'bridge' between the two pools (sports pool on the left, main pool on the right and then two hot tubs also on the right.) It is AWESOME! WOW! I am not a pool person but I can become one real quick as one of the pools is wading shallow. We continued to walk towards midship to see the H2O Zone. When we walked around the corner (there's a big wall separating the two pool areas) I literally exclaimed WOW!!!!! IT IS AWESOME!!!!!! AWESOME!!!! There are plenty of chairs of all types available... in the shade, in the sun, in the line of the fine spray that may blow your way. NICE! Real Nice! Next is Squeeze, a Juice Bar. Fresh and Friendly. Checked out Chops and Portfinos and walked through the Windjammer Cafe. All pretty much the same as the larger Voyager Class ships. We walked back past the pool area and took the stairs near the Pool Bar UP to Deck 12. We walked the upper deck noticing there is a jogging track that is about 1/3 the length of the ship. That'll make a nice walk in the mornings working towards collecting those ShipShape Dollars! Next was all the Young people's area...Adventure Ocean, FUEL(A soda bar that has internet access available too) Looks like a place I'd enjoy. :-) No Adults allowed. :-( Johnny Rocket's is on the other ship of the ship offering hot dogs, burgers, etc and ONION RINGS!!!! YUM!!! We HAD to SEE THE FLOW RIDER!!!!!!!! Only One More Deck UP... I thought the Flow Rider was going to be a Gimmick, a fun gimmick. IT IS SO MUCH MORE! FUN!!!!! We did not get to do it (we can't swim anyway) they had Demonstrations going on every 1/2 hour. BUT the surfers were enjoying it SO much they just kept DOING IT!! THEY are LOVING their JOB!!!! It was mesmerizing and SO FUN to watch! It's Exciting! It's addicting to WATCH! I know where I'll be much of the time when we cruise in September.... WATCHING people WIPE OUT!!!! FUN!!!! Wicked FUN!!! I think we will even DO IT! It isn't deep, what is there to lose? LOL except maybe your bathing suit top. :-) LOL Be careful. FUN. Big KUDOS RCCL! Plenty of seating and tall horizontal surf boards off to the side so you can stand and eat and drink and enjoy, in the sun. Fun! Next to the Flowrider is the Mini Golf then the Basketball Court and Rock Climbing wall. A very active deck in deed. OK..... where's the "Diamond Club" we've been hearing about? UP one deck to Deck 14. Located up near Royal Caribbean's signature Viking Crown Lounge high atop the ship. It was not open. It is what used to be the Ninth Hole. I'm sure it will be real nice when it's open. Great View! It was time to head down to our stateroom as dragging our carry on around was, well, becoming a drag. We headed back up to the Promenade, Deck 5 and bumped into our neighbors who were invited guests. They wanted to have a cocktail so ...... we took them to SCHOONER BAR! They have never been on a cruise but he was in the Navy a WWII Veteran. They had a meeting to attend so we headed down for a slice of Pizza at Sorrentos. :-) We headed back to our stateroom. We had an inside stateroom which had a BIG ROUND mirror on the wall, over the bed directly across from you as you entered. A small sofa (small) and mini coffee table, a vanity and plenty of storage. (But please know we are used to the 'smallness' of stateroom living.) There was a refridge and hair dryer but nothing more than wrapped soap. No Shower cap etc. There was a soap dispenser in shower. The TOWELS thou.... Oh! The Towels! They were SO THICK and SO SOFT I thought for sure they would not be absorbent...They WERE! They WERE AWESOME!!! Now the bed. We BOTH did an Ahhhhh......when we laid down. Unbelievably comfortable. Thick 9" mattresses with pillow tops. Sheets ... smooth and crisp and yet soft. WHITE and embroidered with the RCCL logo in satin thread. PILLOWS!!! Lots of pillows! The bedding and the sleep was delicious. Our bed was made into a queen configuration which doesn't leave much room to get over to the night table or phone. If you wanted more room and didn't mind not sleeping together, have them make it into two twin beds and it would double your walking space.(You can meet in the middle between the two beds. ;-) hee hee We got changed and headed down to the dining room for dinner. It was open seating. The service was great! To my surprise they had the Best of Everything on the Menu.... so I had the escargot, salad and beef. The meat could melt in your mouth and the escargot....as expected. :-) They served our choice of wine again complimentary. Dinner was wonderful, again Great Service. The weather was very nice all day. The two days prior were pretty rainy and yucky, so we were lucking out. All of a sudden my hubby pointed out the sky, it was white on the bottom and a thick darkness that looked like a 7 and white caps in the water like I've never seen before while at sea! We were fine... we headed to check out the casino as we were now far enough out for it to open, but FIRST we have to go see Adrianne at Boleros. Boleros was hopping. Adrianne was everything I heard he was.... very entertaining. He WILL become a Freedom of the Sesa attraction! We look forward to seeing him and his bar mates again. We had a Mojito and headed to the Casino. I made a small donation and had fun trying to figure out HOW to play the machines. It was a long day but now we were off to see the SHOW in the main theater. We sat way up high in the balcony. There was plenty of room everywhere but that's where we choose to be. The Cruise Director Ken Rush introduced the show and the lights went down. It NEVER fails, It doesn't matter WHAT show I am at...... When the lights go down, and the music is playing ... I nod off. A sleepy comfortable NOD. (Like how some people NOD OFF when they are 'watching' a a ball game?) Same thing....comfy nod. What i DID see of the show was very good. After the show we headed to bed, never did get back to The Crypt, but we will. It was a long day., but FUN! I thought the Freedom was going to be Too Big...She's Not! Where you 'feel' the largness of the ship is in the public areas, The Ship Shape Center, The Casino, the Adventure Ocean, the Pool Deck, the H2O Zone. She's very similar to the Voyager (ie: Voyager Class) which made it very easy for us to navigate. Great ship. Not too big. Didn't "SEEM' like there were that many people on the same ship. We only had the one day, did what we could and Can't WAIT to get back onboard on September 24th with my Cruise Critic Pals! Bon Voyage! Did I mention the bedding? :-) Read Less
Sail Date May 2006

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